Everyday I see someone who is homeless. 90% of the time I acknowledge them. I know their language and know their desires. Well, I assume that their desire is to survive. To make it for another day or night or hour. I judge how they are dressed. Wonder how often I have seen them and if they are a trust fund case or an addict or similar to me…they had lived one paycheck from the edge until that paycheck didn’t come in and now they are in front of McDonalds, not caring where or how the burger came from or what’s in it.
Then I realize that I am not as similar to them today as I was 10 years ago…or even a year ago. A little over four years ago I was one paycheck past my means, but I buckled down all expenses, donated plasma to eat, called multiple temp agencies a day, sold just purchased stocks and put the rest on Visa, MasterCard and American Express. I started working with a ministry for the reason I could get free food on the weekend. I volunteered with one off programs for a meal and… Often paid for gas to get to these functions with plastic. Most people would think I was making things happen and surviving how I knew how and most days I would agree.
But today is not one of those days. Today I look at my credit card and wonder how much of that is from 4.5 years ago. Technically none, because I applied for new ones and transferred balances and paid some off with student loans that I am also still paying off. And I wonder if I should have just been homeless for 3 months. If I could have slept on more couches and showered before an interview at a friend’s place…or the shelter. If I should have flown a sign that said. “It’s this or five years of debt”. I wonder if it was strictly pride, or included some wisdom. If I would have lied to my family or told them the truth in hopes they would send rent money. If I would have survived on the street without a shower for more than 3 days, like I never do now.
I also wonder if that kid that was falling asleep was stoned, or just tired from not sleeping well in the past weeks as he was harassed and moved around our fair city. If that matters when he asked me for a quarter as I spent next week’s food budget on a snack today. I wonder if all of the homeless have more monetary wealth than me…or just 99% of them. Cause I know most have better actually money sense than me.